It’s only five years since the last time it was so cold at this time of year and it must be a sign I wear double thickness rose tinted lenses that I cannot remember it, however at 5:45 am my alarm clock went off on Saturday and about an hour later I stumbled out of the house and made my way to Castle Combe where I had volunteered to marshal at the Great Western Sprint sponsored by Williams Automobiles and organised by the Bristol Motor Club for the day.
Between signing on at the Strawford Centre and breakfast at the Tavern Club House Tony Thomas was defrosting his MX5 in the paddock.
They say an army marches on it’s stomach and with the inclement weather I decided a Big Boys Breakfast looked like a bargain at £6.95.
After my hearty breakfast I had just enough time to scoot around the paddock where John & Jonathon Biggs were preparing to fit the familiar Kayne Special III with road tyres to cope with the slippery conditions.
Andy Lawrence ADR Sport 2 displayed a welcome sense of humour which may have helped him to a class win in the under 1800 cc Sports Libre Class.
Looking pristine despite the conditions was Mark Whitchurch’s Austin Cooper S.
According to official records Roger Coote’s Ginetta G4 dates back to 2000 despite wearing a circa 1966 license plate more in keeping with the design era of the car.
Sleet was falling as David Jamesons prepared his 1968 Volvo Amazon for a practice run.
The 1988 Formula One season saw teams choose between two engine options 1.5 litre turbo or 3.5 litre atmospheric induction, Ford chose to abandon it’s turbo and supplied the Benetton team with a normally inducted Ford Cosworth DFR V8, like the one seen here in the back of Terry Graves Gould GR37, Benetton managed to finish 3rd in the manufacturer’s championship behind the Turbo powered McLaren Honda and Ferrari teams and ahead of the Lotus Honda and Arrows Megatron (BMW) turbo teams.
My partner for marshaling duties on the inside of the track at Westway for the day was Carl, who drove us from the marshals meeting to the circuit gate opposite our post in his 2006 Sabaru Impreza fitted with natty Warholesque green and pink wheels.
Apart from reporting the odd miscreant competitor who missed the Bobbies chicane our duties were not particularly taxing. Our post also served as the finishing line for the 1 3/4 lap sprint. I grabbed the following snaps on my i-phone while stood down during tea breaks. Above James Pile crosses the finishing line in his MINI Cooper Traveller.
Last time I recall seeing an Audi 80 on a race track was in 1980 when Sir Stirling Moss drove one in the British Saloon Car Championship, car of the day for me was undoubtedly Keith Murray’s Audi 80 quattro fitted with a turbocharged motor the car not only looked and sounded great but went like a rocket easily winning the Harkness Tyres Modified Production class beating Andy Trayner driving an Audi Quattro Coupé.
Luke Trotman’s Mallock Mk18b broke a drive shaft in practice and then failed the first timed run, as did the two other competitors in the Sports Libre under 1800 cc class and ended up finishing second in the final run. It was around this time that I spotted something dayglo on the track and called a temporary halt to the proceeding for what turned out to be a ball of dayglo masking tape, shades of calling a NASCAR style ‘Jr caution’ there ! Doh !
Van Diemen was founded by the father of the only Australian to win a NASCAR Race Marcos Ambrose and Ralph Fairman father of one time Formula One driver Ralph Fairman Jr in 1973. Steve Miles is seen above driving his 1996 Van Diemen RF 96 which would have started life a Formula Ford 2000 spec car to a fifth place in the top 12 Run Offs.
The event overall was one by Terry Holmes in his Lola Tegra Judd T90 who only needed one run in the top twelve to set fastest time, and generously decided not to take a second run saving us marshals from standing a around in the freezing for an additional couple of minuets.
At mid day proceedings had been stopped for a welcome lunch break during which I refuelled on delicious beef madras curry with rice AND chips but by the end of the day my sense of humour was beginning to slip and I was ready to get home and jump into a hot bath to defrost.
Thanks for joining me on this “Mad Snow & Englishman” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now.